For the last official Mac of the Month (for now, anyway…) I’ve created a mac and cheese recipe with everything bagel seasoning. AKA: Everything But the Bagel Seasoning from Trader Joe’s! This super creamy sauce has cream cheese to thank for its silky, creamy, tangy texture and taste, and it’s topped with toasted breadcrumbs and everything bagel seasoning.
Yep — you get all the best, tasty parts of an everything bagel with cream cheese but in a mac and cheese recipe.
Twelve months ago I set out to create a new, unique mac and cheese recipe to share with you guys — I can’t even believe this is the last recipe for Mac of the Month! But if you’re a Mac of the Month fan, don’t worry, there will still be more mac and cheese recipes to come.
But I really do think we’re finishing off with a bang here. I can’t wait to hear of what you think of this mac and cheese recipe! Each one of them holds a special place in my heart. This is really no exception.
By the way, good thing I remembered to make this! I’m at that weird point between Christmas and New Years when I don’t know what day it is, what time it is, or even what my name is sometimes!
So, let’s get to it. Here’s some handy information to help you make this “everything but the bagel” mac and cheese! It really is “everything but the bagel.”
CAN YOU MAKE MAC AND CHEESE AHEAD OF TIME?
Yes, but…anytime you reheat mac and cheese, it loses a bit of its creaminess. If you’re planning to make this and keep it in the fridge before serving, here are a few tips.
- Increase the amount of sauce a bit to account for the creaminess it could lose.
- Don’t make the breadcrumb/everything bagel seasoning topping until you’re ready to serve it. Or it will get a bit soggy in the fridge.
- Add a bit of milk or cream when you stir the mac and cheese to reheat it in the microwave.
COOKING TIPS FOR THIS MAC AND CHEESE RECIPE
- Boiling the pasta: Once your water is boiling, generously salt it. Be sure to wait until the water is boiling to add the salt, though.
- Use room temp liquids when possible: It will take longer for your roux to thicken up if you use cold milk/cream. If possible, set your milk and cream out a bit ahead of time so they can start to come to room temperature.
- The cream cheese: Cubing cream cheese is much easier when it’s cold. So, cut your cream cheese right when it comes out of the fridge instead of letting it sit. Or you can even put it in the freezer for 5 minutes before you cut it.
- Shred your own cheese: I talk about this in every mac and cheese recipe because it’s SO important. If you use bagged, shredded cheese, it will get stringy and it just isn’t the same! Here’s a whole post where I explain more about this.
CAN YOU MAKE YOUR OWN EVERYTHING BAGEL SEASONING RECIPE?
If you can’t get your hands on the Trader Joe’s Everything But the Bagel Seasoning (that’s what I use in this recipe, don’t fret!). It’s super easy to make your own. And some other places sell their own version.
Here are two great recipes I found for making your own everything bagel seasoning:
Oh, and once you have your hands on some of this stuff, here are more delicious ways to use it.
HOW TO MAKE MAC AND CHEESE with EVERYTHING BUT THE BAGEL SEASONING
If you’ve never made homemade mac and cheese before, it can seem a bit daunting. But don’t worry, we’ll break it down and take it step by step!
- Boil the pasta, drain and set aside.
- Make the roux (cheese sauce) by combining a fat (in this case, butter, once it melts), and a starch (flour). Once the butter melts, you add the seasonings along with the flour. Then you whisk in the milk/cream…slowly.
- Cook the sauce until it thickens up into somewhat of a paste.
- Add in the shredded cheese and cream cheese, stir well.
- Combine the cheese sauce with the cooked pasta.
- Transfer the mac and cheese to a casserole dish.
- Melt butter in the microwave and mix it with the panko breadcrumbs and everything bagel seasoning.
- Top the mac and cheese with the breadcrumb mixture and broil until it’s lightly toasted!
EVERYTHING BAGEL MAC AND CHEESE
Everything Bagel Mac and Cheese
- 3 cups macaroni noodles measured uncooked
- ¼ cup butter
- ¼ cup flour
- 3 cups milk/cream I use a mix of both
- ½ tsp garlic powder
- ½ tsp onion powder
- ½ tsp black pepper ground
- ¼ tsp salt or more, to taste (but remember the everything bagel seasoning has salt in it)
- 3 cups white cheddar cheese shredded
- 1 8 oz. package of cream cheese cubed
For the Everything Bagel Breadcrumb Topping
- 1 tbsp butter melted
- ¾ cup panko breadcrumbs
- 2-3 tbsp everything bagel seasoning more or less depending on how much you want
- Cook noodles according to package directions and set aside.
- Grate the cheddar cheese* and set aside. Cut the cream cheese into small cubes and set aside. Begin to melt 4 tbsp (1/4 cup) of butter in a saucepan on medium heat, careful not to let it burn.
- When the butter is melted, and the salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, and flour. Whisk well until it begins to form a paste.
- Once the butter and flour are mixed and begin to form a paste, SLOWLY add the milk and cream. Stir constantly, and let the sauce thicken for AT LEAST five minutes. Don't skip this step!
- Once the roux mix has cooked for at least five minutes and is GENTLY boiling/bubbly, turn the heat to low.Add the shredded cheddar and cubed cream cheese. Stir well, and let the cheeses melt. This will take a few minutes — be patient!
- Once the cheese is completely melted into the sauce, pour the sauce into the pot with the noodles, stir well. Pour into a casserole dish.
For the Everything Bagel Breadcrumb Topping
- Melt one tbsp. of butter in the microwave. Combine melted butter, panko crumbs, and everything bagel seasoning in a bowl. Mix well.
- Turn your oven to broil.Spread the breadcrumbs/everything bagel seasoning over the mac and cheese. Place under the broiler for about 1-2 minutes, or until the panko gets lightly toasted. Careful not to let it burn.
- Top with some chives or green onions (optional). Serve and enjoy!
Wooo!!! What a year of macs and cheese it’s been! Be sure to check out all of the other unique mac and cheese recipes from the year HERE.
Here’s to a happy, healthy, and tasty 2020!
XO – C